Interview with Nemat Noori 18 years old member of the National Team in the Swedish Karate Federation in Shotokan style. Student of Karate Program at Fredrik Bremer school in Stockholm.
DID YOU TRAIN OTHER SPORTS BEFORE KARATE, WHAT WAS THAT?
I used to play football with my two brothers in Pakistan, otherwise no I didn’t do any specific sports before karate.
WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO SWEDEN AND WHAT WAS THE REASON, WE KNOW YOU HAD A DIFFICULT JOURNEY?
I moved to Sweden in 2015 under this big wave of migration. It was a very difficult situation in my country. We were under bombs so every day was a nightmare. People were arrested. My family decided to send me to Sweden. It was hard to leave my whole family behind me but I wanted a piece and continue my dreams. There were no national games in Pakistan. So when I came to Sweden I decided that I will get the National team.
HOW MIGRATION IMPACTED ON YOUR LIFE, WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU HAVE?
The whole procedure from the Migration Agency which impacts everybody takes quite a long time. This waiting without knowing about the future was the hardest. The worry if you can stay. But we have to be positive, despite pressure to do not give up, that’s not an option for me.
WHO HELPED YOU, WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST SUPPORT?
My biggest support in Sweden is our Sensei Reza Mohseni and friends I met. When I started to work in his Shiai karate club. He believed in me and motivated me. The training helped me also to keep ongoing. The power of sport.
CURRENTLY YOU ARE A MEMBER OF NATIONAL TEAM IN KARATE IN SWEDISH KARATE FEDERATION; HOW OFTEN DO YOU COMPETE?
I got my residence in 2017 and won The Swedish National Championships in 2018 which decided about my membership to get to The Swedish National. But needed first to get for 2 more years to get Swedish Citizenship.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAIN?
I train 10-11 times a week, 2 times a day during a week, rest during the weekends in case no competition. We have a strong trainer at Academy Gulsah Akdag Tararbit who is European Medalist in karate recently building a new female karate team.
WHAT ARE YOUR STREINGHTS AND WEAKNEESES?
I have to be positive and give up is not my option. If something goes wrong or happens to my family that would be a weakness. If I identify a weakness I take it as a goal to achieve.
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST IDOL?
When I saw Stanislav Horuna I directly become inspired and dreamed that one-day others could watch me in the same way. Currently, I admire Rafael Nadal who is a World Champion, joining all competitions not afraid of losing, and never gives up. He strongly inspires me I hope I am going to be like him or even better.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTS, WHAT MORE YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE, WHAT SPECIFIC GOALS YOU WANT TO GAIN THROUGH KARATE?
For the first time, I traveled in 2019 to Austria where I won a silver medal for the club. Then Luxemburg, Hungary, and Croatia without medals but a lot of experiences. After that, I was in Finland where I won silver and then Denmark gold. So these are my achievements outside of Sweden.
WHAT DOES SPORT MEAN FOR YOU, AND WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND YOUNGER GIRLS AND BOYS IN STRUGGLING FOR THEIR DREAMS?
Basically for me sport is everything. I cannot live without sport. When I get sick and cannot train I am more sick, sport is very important I think for society, to make friends and hold you healthy.
HOW ABOUT YOUR CURRENT KARATE TEAM DO YOU SUPPORT EACH OTHER AND MOTIVATE EACH OTHER, HOW DOES IT WORK?
We have a team in school, our own club. Everybody inspires each other, we are like a family. The most important thing is that we help each other, push to achieve goals. If I see my team member not doing a good job, I use to lift him/her mind so they believe in themselves. Sending them positive energy.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?
“When your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough” an important quote by Mohammad Ali. So my dreams scare me, it’s a good feeling. So dream big and do not give up.
The journey where Hope is all I got.
FROM AN IMMIGRANT TO THE SWEDISH CHAMPION, THE POWER OF SPORT.
Today I am proud and glad when I think how high I have reached. My journey started in August 2015 from Pakistan from a town that’s called Hazara Town in Quetta. I was getting ready to start my journey towards Europe, towards my goals and aims I had. This journey took 2 months and changed my life. I started moving towards Afghanistan and I see on the way that it is not only me, there are thousands of people who are leaving their country for a reason. The first country after Afghanistan was Iran that took nearly two and a half weeks to get there. I would say that is the worst journey I had because of my experiences. I suffered most and witnessed horrible situations.
When the smugglers divide you into groups it looks like you all are a flock of sheep and follows the direction that the shepherd shows you. Running from the thieves, hiding in the mountains, hearing shooting, seeing corpses on the mountains, all was so terrible that made you give up but I focused on the beauty of the stars from the mountain, seeing corps made me feel stronger to not give up. After Iran, we walked on the mountain for like ten hours towards Turkey. You are scared of the police because if they see something they shoot directly. You need to save bread and water for weeks because you never know how long you have to stay in a desert or mountains. In Turkey, I lived two weeks in a room with twelve others and we were not supposed to go out. I remember that everyone could not sleep because we had our legs on each other’s legs.
From Turkey to Greece I reached with rubber boats. I was scared I could not swim and had no idea how it feels to be in a boat in the water. My first experience with a boat was a rubber boat which is for 12 people and we were near 50. The only thing I had was the hope of surviving and letting my parents know that I am in Greece. When I reached Greece there were lots of people who helped with the food and clothes and UNICEF was there as well.After Greece it was much better because the borders between countries were open and it was not illegal to walk into another country. from Greece to north Makedonien and then Serbian, we drove buses and little walks from the borders then I Serbian we walked from jungles that raised water to my chest. In Hungary, I took the train and then came to Austria. in Austria, we walked around 5 hours to a train station and then to Wien and then Munich by train and then from Munich to Hamburg and then the train to Malmö.
This journey taught me a lot, how to not give up easily, have hope and be positive, you have been with the worst and nothing is like that sometimes I say to myself to encourage myself.
The sport gave me the power to change my world and I was willing to do it and now. I have just received a mail from the Swedish National team that I was selected to represent Sweden in the European championships in August 2021. It shows me the results of hard work and nothing is impossible.
Interview by Diana Kicia.
God Bless You.